All posts

Understanding Elixir Task

This and the other “Deck” posts are a repurposing of flashcard study decks to Q&A blog posts. Google was not showing love to this content as a set of flashcards and I didn’t want to delete them entirely, I hope you find it useful.

What is an Elixir Task?

It is a means of spawning an Elixir Process but with asynchronous capabilities, which is its main use case.

When do you use a Task?

They are often used for interacting with external services. Using a Task in this way makes otherwise synchronous code asynchronous, so your code can do other work while the Task is working.

What does the code look like for spawning an asynchronous Task and reading its message upon completion?

=> task = Task.async(fn -> IO.puts("processing") end) 
=> Task.await(task)

In the above example the Task is executed using async/1 and its message will be available as a result of await/1.

What Task function should be used when you have no interest in the result of its completion?

start/1, which accepts an anonymous function to be executed. The anonymous function must have no arguments.

Can you spawn multiple Tasks and await all of their completion?

Yes. You can map over a list of Tasks and provide the Task.await function as the callback to each task in the list.

=> tasks = Enum.reduce(0..9, [], fn _, acc -> [Task.async(&any_job/0) | acc] end) 

=>, &Task.await/1)

Do Tasks use message passing?

Not often. A Task is used for one specific action.

For your continued enjoyment: